‘Spice’ Sends Students to Hospital: Know the Risks

As providers of high quality student housing in Lancaster, we consider it a top priority to look after the students who come to us in every way we can – and that includes keeping you aware of the potential threats and dangers that you might face.

Today we’ve heard the unfortunate story of five Lancaster University students who had to be taken to hospital yesterday evening, after ingesting a synthetic drug known as ‘spice’. Designed to mimic the effects of cannabis, Spice is often described as a legal high, however many of the chemicals found within the herbal mix are actually class B drugs which can have a very damaging impact on those who use them. Although three of the students admitted to hospital last night have now been discharged, two remain in a critical condition, and our thoughts are with them.

Stay Knowledgeable

Doctor holding heart

Although University is a fantastic time for new experiences, it’s important to stay safe so that you can really make the most of Uni life. There are certain risks associated with taking drugs like spice, and the fact that very little is known about the specific chemicals used and how individual users will react to them makes it especially dangerous to experiment with these types of substances.

If you’re worried that you, or a friend, might be at risk then there are certain signs and symptoms that you can be on the lookout for. Hallucinations, sickness and nausea, increased heart rate and paranoia are all side effects associated with smoking spice. Lancaster University is urging anybody who could be at risk to check in with friends and, if necessary, call 999 for emergency medical support. Being at Uni means being part of a community of students who should have each other’s backs, so you can take an important step to staying safe just by making sure that you look out for your friends.

Stay Safe

Group of people enjoying a concert

Lancaster is a fantastic and vibrant city for students, and we’re encouraged by how rarely this type of problem occurs! The easiest way to stay safe while you’re partying and unwinding from class is simply to make sure that you have all the facts before taking any sort of risks with your health.

At City Block, we’re proud of our commitment to looking out for students and helping you to get excited about your time at University. If you’re in need of student housing then we’d love to hear from you – get in touch with our team at 01524 541251 and we’ll be happy to help.

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Make Your Voice Heard: General Election 2015

Now, we know that you’re all knuckling down studying hard at the moment, unless you got distracted by our last post, but you’ll probably have noticed the abundance of politician’s faces plastered across your TV, all over Facebook and even pasted on billboards.

It can only mean one thing – it’s time to put an ‘X’ in a box and vote for the future of Britain.

UK Vote 2015 Title and Rosettes angled

But Why Should You Vote?

You’ve probably heard the age-old excuse of ‘my vote won’t make a difference’. But did you know that in the 2010 elections, 15.9 million didn’t bother voting – that’s a whole lot of silent voices.

Vote because you can. There are millions of people across the world who don’t have that right, plus, if you’re a woman, it’s worth remembering that not so long ago, you wouldn’t have been able to have your say.

(This is from the last election – this year’s voting date is Thursday 7th May)

How Do I Vote?

You can vote in person by popping down to your local polling station. If you’ve registered to vote, you should have your polling card by now which will tell you where to go. It’s as simple as putting a cross in the box for the party you want to vote for. Polling stations will open at 7am and close at 10pm, so you should have plenty of time to have your say!

You can also vote by post, but these should have been posted with enough time to reach the electoral office by 10pm on 7th May.

Your other option is a vote by proxy which means that someone else delivers your vote for you. You should already be registered for this, but you can apply for an emergency proxy vote if you suddenly fall ill before Election Day.

Businessman hand putting voting paper in the ballot box, Voting

Who Should I Vote For?

Now this part is entirely up to you. You get to make that choice, so take a few minutes to read a little bit about each party’s manifesto and decide what’s most important to you.

If you can’t decide who to vote for, you could always take a quiz to work out who you agree most with. Try a quick and simple quiz, or if you want more detailed answers, try the Telegraph quiz.

Whoever you decide to vote for on Thursday 7th May, make sure you do it so you can get the student voice heard. In the meantime, when it comes to student houses in Lancaster and Leicester, City Block gets the vote! If you’re looking for a room, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team by giving us a call on 01524 541251 today!

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Life Lessons: How To Procrastinate

Ah, revision. The bane of every student’s life. The exam period, for any student year (apart from you lucky, lucky first years, of course) will be a stressful time, filled with dread, regret, and a bit more dread. And a bit more regret.

You’ll discover your new found superhero power of being able to skim read a 1000 page book in 3 hours, your ability to live off 9p noodles, chocolate and energy drinks for an impossible amount of time, and your new found love for finding something, anything to do other than revision. Seriously, it’s a skill. And hey, while we’re not condoning you stop revising, we do recommend that every few hours you step out of the library, away from the computer or just out the house for a little chill time (and a decent meal!)

So, for those cheeky revision breaks – here’s some of our favourite ways to waste your time. You’re welcome!

Snake ’97

Disclaimer: You may fail your exams if you download this app.

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Yep! We’re taking it old-school and you’re going to flipping love it! We’re not accepting the blame for you getting addicted to this little beauty, but if you were a big fan of the beloved 3310 – here’s the app that’ll transform your snazzy iPhone 6 Plus into an old and trusty Nokia from the 00′s. Snake included.

I Want One Of Those

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If you haven’t heard of this cheeky site yet – where’ve you been? It’s pretty much the godfather of gadgets – and if you’re lucky enough to have any student loan left, get on this and do some serious retail therapy to cheer yourself up! It’s the ultimate heaven for any gadget geek. Enjoy.

This Is Sand

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Feeling arty? Or just plain bored? Become the next Picasso with this wonderfully creative sand-tastic image maker that’ll have you getting creative with the click of a mouse. It’s seriously addictive so whatever your art capability, get one of these done and wow your flatmates with your new (and very impressive) masterpiece! That’s definitely a skill for the CV, yeah?

Incredibox

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Think you’re the next superstar deejay but don’t reckon the world is ready for your banging beats just yet? Sit down, David Guetta and check out this – we reckon it’s pretty much the best musical site on the planet! But please please please don’t spend too much time on it. We really don’t want you sacking off your exams and hopping on the next plane to Ibiza to follow your dream…

The Nicest Place On The Internet

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…And for those days when it all just gets a bit much and you need a big hug, here’s pretty much the nicest place in the world to waste a few minutes! You can even spread the love and send in your own hug. Awwh!

So, there you have it folks. Every possible way to have a little me-time amidst the stressful revision days. And, if you’re lucky enough to have it all to look forward to this September – here at CityBlock we’re proud to be the top choice when it comes to student accommodation in Leicester and Lancaster. For more information, to book a room, or to speak to one of our friendly team – please contact us today on 0116 251 7270 today!

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Post Graduate Students: Choosing the Right Accommodation

We know that finding the right accommodation can be really stressful, especially for post graduate students.

When you are an undergraduate, it’s usually more fun to live in university halls in your first year and then move into communal accommodation with all of your friends. The fun never stops!

Things are a little different for someone completing a post graduate course, as there’s more work involved, meaning less time to go out all the time. This means that sometimes it’s preferable to find somewhere a little more private where you can get on with all your work in peace.

Here at CityBlock, we understand this, and that’s why we offer a brilliant alternative to our standard ensuite communal flats.

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These self-contained studio apartments, in both Lancaster and Leicester, are suited to the post graduate student. This is because they are more private, which is perfect for the more mature student. They allow students to still have the independence of living alone, but also experience the same brilliant benefits that we offer in all student housing.

Some of these exciting benefits are listed below.

PIGGY-BANK-MONEY

 

 

 

All Bills Included – Just like with any of our properties, all your utility bills are included in the price of the rent. This makes it far easier to budget, as you know exactly what you’re spending every month.   

 

ENSUITE-ICON

 

 

 

Ensuite Room – All self-contained flats are private with their own bathrooms. This means no more queuing early in the morning when you are desperate for the toilet! Win!

 

CLEANING-ICON

 

 

 

Cleaning – Yup, we provide weekly cleaning free of charge. This means you can concentrate on your studying a lot more.

 

KETTLE-ICON

 

 

 

Equipped Kitchen – Our self-contained studios include everything a student will need in a kitchen. They include a dishwasher! So that means you don’t have to waste valuable studying time after dinner washing all the pots.

 

SKY-ICON

 

 

 

Smart TV and Sky Digital – Our studio apartments all contain TVs with inbuilt freeview. We also offer pay-as-you-view Sky where you don’t have to sign up for anything!

These are just some of our favourite reasons to choose CityBlock. We also offer a printing service, an onsite laundry and 24 hour security.

All of our apartments are in city centre locations, meaning you are always in the heart of the city!

Studio-03

These are just a selection of the great benefits you get when choosing student accommodation with CityBlock. If you’re interested in any of our apartments, or you have any questions, then please feel free to get in touch. You can contact us on 01524 541251 for any queries about our student housing in Lancaster, or on 0116 2517270 for our Leicester housing; a member of our helpful team will be happy to help.

 

 

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Richard III: Car Park Grave to Royal Re-Burial

He was the last medieval monarch of England; the much-maligned king depicted by Shakespeare as a devious, hunchbacked murderer and the last ruler to die in battle on English soil. This week, however, he’s Leicester’s biggest attraction, drawing crowds of thousands to see his bones and attend his reburial.

Here at CityBlock, we watched the queues grow and grow as people waited for up to four hours to view his coffin as it stood on display at Leicester Cathedral.

That’s quite a show for somebody who died 530 years ago! So, who was Richard III anyway?

Step back in time to the mid-fifteenth century. Henry VI is on the throne (not the one with the wives) and he’s thought to be a bit bonkers. In 1453, he basically stops doing anything for a year – not even acknowledging the birth of his son. That’s not what you want from a ruler, so Richard of York (he who gave battle in vain) decides that he can king better than Henry. He leads an army into battle at St Albans, of all places, in 1455, kicking off a war between the House of York and the House of Lancaster that would last the next thirty years.

Henry VI gets captured a couple of times, Richard of York gets named Protector of England, his son Edward becomes King Edward IV, but is then exiled and Henry gets put back on the throne – for all of six months. Edward comes back, Henry is murdered in the Tower of London, and it all looks ready to settle down again.

Unfortunately, Edward then dies unexpectedly. His brother Richard, not wanting his sister-in-law involved in the government, steps in to become – yes, you got it, Richard III. He locks Edward’s two sons up in the Tower of London, and they’re never seen again. Did Richard kill them? To be honest, nobody knows.

In steps Henry of Tudor, a relative of the Lancasters, supplied with troops by the French. He leads his army to the Battle of Bosworth Field on the 22nd August 1485, where Richard III is decisively defeated – and killed, bringing the War of the Roses to an end.

Richard was buried without pomp, and his grave was lost until it was rediscovered just three years ago under a car park.

And that brings us to today. Despite campaigns from some quarters to have Richard buried in Yorkshire – he was of the House of York, after all – the decision was made to keep him in Leicester, with a re-interment ceremony fit for a king.

Today’s ceremony will include a poem read by Richard III’s second cousin 16 times removed. Who? Why, Benedict Cumberbatch, of course! According to genealogists, millions of us are probably related to Richard III, but Cumberbatch can claim a bit of a closer link than most. He’ll also be playing him in the upcoming BBC Two drama series The Hollow Crown: War of the Roses. Great for those who want to know more about history and those who just love a bit of Cumberbatch alike!

If you chose Lancaster over York (in terms of university places) then you can check out our student housing in Lancaster – for more information, get in touch with us today!

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Extra-Curricular App-tivities: The Mobile Apps That’ll Broaden Your Horizons

Ok, so you’re at uni – that’s cool, but it can’t all be about learning Marxist theory or burying your head in the set texts, right? Sometimes you’ll want to broaden your horizons independently too. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of the best apps on the market that’ll teach you more than what’s on the ol’ uni curriculum.

 

DuoLingo

Salut. Ciao. Guten tag. Fancy learning a new language? Then have DuoLingo will steer you right. The best part about DuoLingo – which is available as an app on all mobile platforms, as well as on your desktop – is that it treats the whole process as a game. And one that makes learning fun!

 

TouchDevelop

It’s the year of coding. Besides all those awesome coding parties you’ve undoubtedly been attending, you’ll probably want to be learning a little coding yourself. With TouchDevelop from Microsoft Research you can create tons of apps on your phone or computer. If you make the next Facebook, though, do remember us.

 

Pocket First Aid and CPR

Developed by the American Heart Association, this app will give you the lowdown on, y’know, saving someone’s life (which makes you as cool as Superman). From the correct way to perform CPR, to other first aid know-how, the Pocket First Aid and CPR app has it all. Available for iPhone and Android for £1.49.

 

TED

Your mate Ted from Telford may think he knows everything, but the TED app has got even him beat. Science, health, pop culture – there’s no topic speakers for TED don’t have a handle on. Get the app for the latest news, the thoughts of innovative visionaries and general genius.

 

Dictionary.com

…Sometimes, uh, the word… you know what I mean, that word, it… Just… Escape! That was it. The word escape just escapes you. Download the Dictionary.com app, though, and you’ll have all those beautiful words, and their synonyms, at your fingertips. Perfect for when the, uh… Yeah, that.

 

Coursera

Coursera, available on iPhone and Android, is essentially an online university, without the student fees. The classes cover a whole breadth of topics, and features videos and lessons from big-shot professors from Oxford, Harvard and Yale, so you can be sure you’re getting the finest education without ever moving from the couch.

 

Getting a little learning under your belt is never a bad thing, even if you’re already settled at university, or heading there in September. Here’s another fact you might not know, here at CityBlock we specialise in awesome student accommodation in Leicester and Lancaster. For more info, simply contact us on (Leicester) 0116 251 7270 or (Lancaster) 01524 541 251 and our team will be delighted to assist with your enquiries. Ok, class dismissed!

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Press Play: Game Soundtracks to Study To

Man, studying can be a real drag sometimes. Not always – sometimes you get your nose buried in an awesome book and you’re set for the whole evening. But sometimes… Well, sometimes doing absolutely anything except studying can seem like a great idea. Suddenly that dirty laundry that’s been piling up for weeks becomes urgent; you discover just how exciting professional paint-drying watching can be; and you wish you could just get on the Xbox or PlayStation and game the night away.

 

But hey, studying is pretty important, right? That’s why we go to uni. So if you’re craving a games sesh, but really need to crack on with your work then why not kill two birds with one stone (not literally though, that’ll get you into big-time trouble with the police, the RSPCA and your own conscience)? Listening to music can be pretty beneficial to some when studying – it keeps the mind focussed. But roll over, Beethoven – we’re going to list the best video game soundtracks to study to, starting with…

 

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Ocarina of Time is considered by just about everybody as one of the best Zelda titles out there. No surprise, then, that the soundtrack is also one of the best out there. That’s what you’d expect from composer, Koji Kondo, who’s scored tons of classic Nintendo games, from Super Mario to Star Fox.

 

Assassin’s Creed II

Travel back to Renaissance Italy while studying your psychoanalytical texts with the Assassin’s Creed II OST. Befitting a game that’s set in both the present and the past, Jesper Kyd’s epic and emotional composition takes full advantage of a 35-piece orchestra, choral vocals, and even electric guitars.

 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Whether you play Call of Duty or not, there’s no denying that the frantic, fast-paced soundtrack perfectly captures the gameplay. We have uber-maestro Hans Zimmer to thank for that. When that ominous deadline’s approaching, few soundtracks will get you pumped the way this does!

 

Literally Any Final Fantasy

There’s a pretty strong argument to be made that video game soundtracks are today’s classical music. If that’s true – and it is – then never is it more true than with the work of Nobuo Uematsu, who’s scored most of the Final Fantasy games, and renders pretty much every emotion anyone has ever experienced. Even when the game series lost its way, the music has remained strong. Sure, if we had to pick one for studying, we’d choose Final Fantasy VII. But they’re all great.

 

So now you’re ready to study – and you can relive all your favourite video game moments at the same time! And if you still haven’t found the ideal student accommodation in Leicester or Lancaster to study in, then we’ve got you covered. For more info on our available accommodation, just go ahead and contact us on (Lancaster) 01524 541 251 or (Leicester) 0116 251 7270 and our staff will be delighted to help.

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University Survival Guide

Your time spent at university will be one of the best of your life, and hopefully you’ll remember it for all the right reasons.

While being a student is great fun, it can also be pretty hard to get through the year at times. At CityBlock, we want to make sure you have a great time at university, so here is our university survival guide.

Budgeting

It’s boring, it’s hard and sometimes it will keep you up at night. However, whether you want it to be or not, budgeting is a necessary part of student life.

There will be certain points of the year where your pockets are feeling emptier and you’ll be desperately waiting for your loan payment, so it is important to make savings where you can.

Work out how much you will need each week for your food and rent, and try to cut back on all non-essentials. Shops like Poundland, Aldi and Lidl will also help you save a lot of money on your groceries.

Student budgeting sites offer lots of deals and vouchers for rare savings, which can be anything from 20% off video games to a free bottle of soft drink. These sites are great for times when you need presents for friends and family, or if you want to treat yourself without breaking the bank.

House Sharing

House sharing can be one of the best, but also most testing experiences of your life. You will start to get annoyed when your flatmates don’t do the washing up, come home making lots of noise at 4am or never take out the recycling (and they’ll get annoyed at you if you do the same!).

It can be hard to find the right balance between having a good friendship and being good housemates. Try not to nag, and be considerate of others by being as tidy and helpful as possible. If they really don’t contribute, politely ask them every once in a while to help out. If you’re helping alongside them, it’s far less confrontational.

Coursework

Yep, coursework. It may be the last thing on your mind when you come to university, but without some work and organisation, you could find yourself buried in essays and on the verge of a breakdown.

Never fear. Try to plan out your coursework as far in advance as possible. This will give you time to do your research, change your mind about topics and see your tutor if you are stuck without having to lock yourself away and miss out on all the fun that university has to offer.

University is a great experience, and with this survival guide you have nothing to fear. Finding the right accommodation is also important, and if you are looking for student accommodation in Leicester or Lancaster, CityBlock offers modern, en-suite student rooms in convenient locations. For more information, contact us today by calling 0116 2517270.

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Finding the Perfect Housemate

You, you’re the perfect housemate, right? Obviously you are; you’re intelligent, respectful, and you can cook up a mean spag-bol. But what about everyone else? How do you know what to look for when interviewing potential housemates to come live in your awesome student accommodation in Leicester or Lancaster or wherever you’re based?

 

Living with new folk isn’t easy, but there are a few pointers to look for. Like, if you’re a bookish studier, you’re not gonna wanna live with a metalhead who can’t hear music unless it’s cranked all the way up to 11. And if you’re that metalhead, that bookish study-lover probably won’t fit in with your lifestyle. So…

 

Know Who You Want (Sort of)

Like everything in life, it’s a good idea to have an end-goal in mind. Knowing what type of housemate you’re looking for is a good start, what sort of personality, temperament, that sort of thing – but be flexible. If you have a single vision of your ideal housemate, you’ll still be looking for them long after you graduate.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Live with Pals

Living with friends can seem like an great idea, but those quirks you adore down the pub can pretty swiftly turn into rage-inducing habits. Familiarity breeds contempt. And back-stabbing. And…

 

 

 

 

Look Beyond the Smile

That guy or gal you’re interviewing may be the friendliest person you’ve ever met. They laugh at your jokes, tell awesome anecdotes, and really seem like they’ll fit in. Know who else is like that? Psychopaths. Ok, we’re not suggesting you’ll get brutally murdered in your sleep, but it’s important to judge a person on more than just their amiable exterior.

 

 

 

 

Study Habits

Finding out about your potential housemate’s study habits is crucial. If there’s any chance they’ll cause a distraction while you’re trying to work, it’s going to end the same way as Russell Brand and Katy Perry’s relationship – badly.

 

 

 

 

Domesticate It

Living with someone requires a whole lot of give and take. So is your housemate prepared to help out with the chores, or are you going to do find them slobbing out on the couch, conspicuously avoiding three months-worth of dishes in the sink? And if that slob is you, it’s no good enlisting a clean-freak for a housemate.

 

 

 

Don’t Be That Housemate (And Don’t Let Them Be That Housemate Either)

It’s not always going to be easy co-habiting with others. But that doesn’t mean it’s a licence to go writing passive-aggressive notes, or putting post-it notes on absolutely everything. Choose a housemate with whom, even when the chips are down (and the laundry’s piling up), you feel comfortable talking about problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you’re set to find your perfect housemate – it’s one of the most exciting aspects of uni, meeting new people and making new friends. And if you’re still looking for awesome accommodation, we can lend a hand, with premium flats and houses for individuals and groups. To get the low-down, simply contact us on (Lancaster) 01524 541 251 or (Leicester) 0116 251 7270 and our team will be delighted to help.

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What’s On in Leicester and Lancaster for Chinese New Year

February 19th is a date to mark in your calendars. It is, after all, Chinese New Year – Year of the Sheep, in fact – and that means there’s gonna be a whole lot of celebratin’ over the coming days. So let’s take a cheeky gander at all the awesome events going on in Leicester and Lancaster, and how you can celebrate Chinese-style!

Leicester

The Chinese New Year Celebration Gala – Friday, 20th February 2015

Where: The Athena

When: 7pm

 

Fancying checking out some great traditional Chinese entertainment, coupled with plenty of performances? Then the Confucius Institute has got you covered. There’ll be a mix of singing, dancing and comedy from a wide range of cultural groups. And don’t forget the traditional Chinese dumplings that’ll be served up throughout the night. Tickets for the gala cost £12 and can be obtained by emailing the Confucius Institute.

 

Lancaster

Chinese New Year Funfair – Saturday, 21st February 2015

Where: Victoria Street, Morecambe

When: 11am – 5pm

 

Morecambe puts the fun into funfair with their unique New Year celebrations. Take a wander down Victoria Street, just south of the beach, and discover enticing food and drink stalls. Pop along to the Winter Gardens car park for a thrill-seeking funfair. And delight in the many performances that’ll be taking place – including the Northern Dragons Lion Dance Team, Blackpool’s Qilin Team and the Batala samba drumming group, who’ll be performing at 11:45am, 12:45pm and joining the epic parade which starts at 2pm.

 

Chinese New Year Carnival – Sunday, 1st March 2015

Where: Market Square, Lancaster

When: 10am – 5pm

 

This year will be Lancaster’s biggest celebrations yet! There’ll be not one, not three, but two stages featuring live performances. Market Square will play host to the Lebara Mobile Stage, where you can catch the Malaysian 24 Festival Drums, alongside the vibrant Northern Dragons and Hung Gar lion dance squads. And let’s not forget Blackpools Qinlin team and firm favourites, Lancaster’s Batala samba drumming team, who will be performing at 11:45am, 12:45pm. Then check out the incredible parade, which starts at 2pm on Penny Street.

 

10th Anniversary Gala

Where: Lancaster Town Hall

When: 12pm – 3pm

 

The 10th Anniversary Gala will be the ultimate celebration of the Year of the Sheep. The Hua Xian Chinese Society will be putting on an absolute must-see show featuring the Sichuan Performing Arts troupe. It’ll be a breathtaking display of martial arts, acrobatics and artistry that showcases some seriously amazing acts of human agility. Fun for all the family. Tickets cost £15 for adults, £8 for children under 16. Under-fives go free.

 

And now you’re all set to see in the Chinese New Year. Bit better than a drizzly firework or two along the Thames! You’ll feast on traditional Chinese foods and drop your jaw at these wonderful performances. Need more reasons to head here? How about our outstanding student accommodation in Leicester and Lancaster? For more info, simply contact us on (Lancaster) 01524 541 251 or (Leicester) 0116 251 7270 and our team will be delighted to assist.

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